Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants that is native to warm tropical regions around the globe, particularly in Asia and the Pacific Islands.
The Hibiscus genus encompasses hundreds of species and thousands of color combinations, from the bright red, pink and yellow Hibiscus rosa-sinensis to the deep red Hibiscus sabdariffa. This varietal is often used to prepare ruby-colored herbal infusions.
The hibiscus plant is renowned for its incredible beauty and is steeped in rich cultural traditions and practices. Many people recognize hibiscus as the flower worn by women in Hawaii and other Pacific Islands to denote their marital status.
Origins of Hibiscus
The origins of hibiscus are shrouded in mystery and legend. Despite having been prized by various cultures around the globe for centuries, botanists have remained unable to pinpoint the true birthplace of Hibiscus.
Botanists know that at one point in time, there were eight original ancestors of the modern hibiscus species. These ancestor plants were sprinkled across the globe, and can be traced back to the early 1700s in Fiji, Hawaii, China, India, Mauritius, and Madagascar.
Some experts believe these early plant species came to be separated from the true origin point by the continental drift; others believe that prehistoric Polynesian voyagers carried the original hibiscus seeds with them as they traveled, introducing them to different islands.
History of Hibiscus
Early European explorers first encountered hibiscus as they sailed around the globe, voyaging to the warm, tropical lands that span the Equator. In China, explorers discovered the vibrant flower growing around temples and palaces. The Chinese are believed to have been among the first to intentionally cultivate hibiscus.
Mauritius, a tropical island located off the east coast of Africa, played a key role in the European discovery and global transport of hibiscus. During the 1700s and 1800s, this island served as a major seaport for sailors venturing to Africa, India, and China. The botanists who traveled on these ships were tasked with studying and collecting exotic plant species and bringing the most promising species back to Europe for commercial purposes.
It remains unknown just how many ships transported hibiscus during this critical period of exploration, but at some point, various species of the plant were brought to horticultural centers around Europe. Today, the hibiscus plant is grown in tropical and subtropical climates around the world, from Fiji and Hawaii to Tanzania, Nigeria, Jamaica, and Australia.
Wellness Benefits of Hibiscus
In addition to their important ecological and aesthetic value, hibiscus flowers and calyces from the Hibiscus sabdariffa variety have a time-honored history of medicinal and culinary use. The plant has been used for centuries by Ayurvedic healers to treat ailments such as respiratory problems, fevers, and skin conditions.*
Hibiscus sabdariffa is a natural diuretic, which has helped to develop the plant’s reputation as a hydrating botanical.* For centuries, many cultures around the globe—including Mexico, Egypt, and Sudan—have incorporated hibiscus into teas and other healthful beverages.
This vibrant, antioxidant-rich flower is a common ingredient in skincare and haircare products. Hibiscus extract may be used as an emollient to soothe, soften, and moisturize skin and hair.*
We invite Citizens to experience the intoxicating, exotic flavor of hibiscus with premium hibiscus tea. Cultivated from the Nigerian hibiscus flower (Hibiscus sabdariffa), these teas have been blended with an array of fruits and other botanicals to create a tart, tropical cuppa that will have you dreaming of a breezy island getaway.
NEW Beautifying Botanicals® Clean Beauty™ Herbal Tea contains a proprietary blend of hibiscus, aloe vera, sea buckthorn berry, and other herbal ingredients. Pamper and nourish your skin from the inside out with this delightful berry-aloe tea.* For a refreshing, chilled twist on Clean Beauty Tea, sip Beautifying Botanicals® Berry Aloe Iced Tea.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.